Sunday, 8 March 2009

Rent rise for a better housing service

Over the last two weeks we have been hand delivering letters to all Stockwell residents in Lambeth Living (ALMO) properties. If you are concerned, do get in touch with us. This is what the letter says:

Dear tenant,

Rent rise will pay for a better housing service

After decades of failure Lambeth’s housing service is getting better. But it’s still not as good as it should be. Labour has invested millions of pounds to put in new windows, roofs and doors, but there is still much more to do. Despite the improvements, too many repairs are not done on time, or to the standard you expect. Too many families live in overcrowded homes. It’s time to put that right and give every tenant the high quality housing service you deserve.

The problem is, fixing all of that costs money. At the moment there’s not even enough to pay for the services we already have. That’s why some services get cut year after year.

There are two things we can do to bring in the extra money to pay for better services.

First, we must work harder to cut out waste and bad management. We will make sure that happens. Second, because rents in Lambeth are low compared to other councils, we have to ask everyone to pay more. We know that’s not easy when times are hard, but the alternative is worse.

If rents don’t go up, the council will have to make £9 million of cuts to your services. Without the rent rise, the cuts could mean:
  • All CCTV switched off and safety patrols removed
  • Repairs cancelled
  • Estates getting dirtier with less cleaning
  • Homes left damp and unheated
  • Much longer waiting times when you phone the call centre
We know you don’t want cuts like that. So, from April, your rent will increase by more than usual. But don’t forget you will still be paying much less than privately rented or housing association homes in Lambeth. And your rent will still be lower than the amount charged by Tory or Lib Dem councils like Wandsworth and Islington. Extra help will be available for people on low incomes, and if you’re already receiving housing benefit the amount you receive could go up. If you need help to pay your rent, please call the Customer Centre 020 7926 6000.

We know this year’s rent rise won’t be popular. But the alternative of massive cuts is far worse. This is the only way we can guarantee the better housing service you want and need. Please get in touch if you want to discuss this or any other issues with us.We are here to work for you, and we promise to do everything we can to improve your housing service.

Yours sincerely,
Cllr Steve Reed
Leader of Lambeth Council

Cllr Lib Peck
Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration

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